Saturday, 18 January 2014

Japanese x & + Block Tutorial

OK bees, here it is....I have decided on a scrappy Japanese x & + block for my month.

I don't even know how or where I stumbled across this block but it was love at first sight.  It seems that once again I am way behind the trend as this block was apparently viral in early 2012.  How come I didn't notice it back then?  Anyway, after many, many hours (I tell ya, this internet thing is like a black hole in time - what seems like 10 minutes looking at all of the pretties is really 2 hours) and after much deliberation I am going with pink, yellow and orange with low volume background for my colours.

There are quite a few tutorials in blogland but none of them were for blocks at the size I wanted so I did some reverse engineering and came up with a block that finishes at 10.5"

Here are a few of the blocks I have made so far.

Aren't they pretty?  Seriously, check out the japanese x & + quilt a long flickr group.  So many beautiful blocks and some incredible quilts.  Just gorgeous.

So without further ado, here is how I made my blocks.

Fabric requirements:

(4)  4.5" squares assorted colours for the crosses
(8)  2.5" squares for crosses background
(1)  6.5" x 2.5" rectangle for the plus
(2)  2.5" x 2.5" squares for the plus (same as 6.5 x 2.5 rectangle above)
(4)  2.5' x 2.5" squares for plus background

Step 1 - Crosses

Mark a diagonal line on the back of each 2.5" background squares.

Align the square with the corner of the 4.5" square right sides together.

Sew along the marked line.  Actually, I like to sew just to the side of the line (marked with the arrow) rather than on the line.

Can you see how I have sewed just next the the line?  This gives you that smidge extra room to press the triangle over the seam allowing the edges to meet.  Make sure you sew on the side of the marked line closest to the outside corner.

Repeat the same process on the opposite side of the 4.5" square.

Next cut away the corner triangles 1/4" from the seam line.  I just eyeball this and cut with my scissors but that's just me. I am all about getting it done quickly and I really can't be bothered getting up to cut it with my rotary cutter.  If you are perfectionist by all means cut away the excess with your ruler and rotary cutter.

This is what you will end up with.

Press the triangles out  giving you a 4.5" square.  I forgot to take a picture of the triangles pressed out but I am sure you get the idea.

Step 2 - Plusses

Sew the (2) 2.5" plus square to (2) of the 2.5" plus background squares.  This will give you a 4.5" x 2.5" rectangle.
Sew the remaining (2) 2.5" plus background squares to each end of the 6.5" x 2.5" rectangle.

Step 3 - Putting it all together

Lay out the pieces ready for joining.  Make sure the crosses are pointing into the center of the block.

Sew the 4.5" squares to either side of the 4.5" x 2.5" rectangle making sure the cross fabric is aligned correctly.  It's no fun unpicking 4 seams if you get it wrong.  Ask me how I know this!!!
Once you have sewed these together you will have (2) 4.5" x 10.5" rectangles and (1) 2.5" x 10.5" rectangle.

Next sew the (2) outside rectangles to either side of the center rectangle .

Ta Da....finished 10.5" x 10.5" Japanese x & + Block

I will even show you the back just so you can see how I pressed my seams.  It's a bit hodge podge but it lays flat so I am OK with it.

All up these blocks are very quick to make.  I think each one took me about 20 minutes to complete and that includes cutting the fabric.

Before I go, I would like to acknowledge and thank Amy Badskirt for her wonderful blog post and tutorial on this block. She did extensive research as to the origin of the block and credits Setsuko Inawaga's submission the the Tokyo Quilt Festival 2011.  I have Amy's permission to share her post and tutorial with you so if you would like to learn more about this block please read Amy's post here. 

So there you go.  Now I can breath...this is my very first tutorial and I hope I have been clear with my instructions.  I would like to post more tutorials in future so please let  me know if you think I can improve.  I welcome your feedback, positive or negative.  I promise I "can handle the truth"!


  1. Your tutorial is great, Sue! Well done! And your blocks are sweet! Love the colours you chose!

  2. Your tutorial is great... but your fabrics are luscious!!!! Great color choices!!! Love it!
    ( Found you through Lets Be Social

  3. Very nice colors. It's definitely time to start thinking of the warmer months! :)

  4. Loving your colors you did on this! :) Thanks for the great tutorial--you did a lovely job!

    Would love for you to stop by tomorrow and link this up to Fabric Frenzy Friday!
    Fabric Frenzy Friday

  5. I’ve been admiring quilts made from this block for quite some time, now. So glad someone pinned your tutorial, which is excellent, by the way.